The Millennial Chef

Thanksgiving Turkey

As we all know, Thanksgiving is all about the turkey. Well, actually it's all about the sides; however, the turkey needs to be cooked to perfection. I have found the perfect recipe for an 18-20 pound turkey, thanks to my girl, Ina Garten. I tweaked the seasoning a touch, but this bird turns out juicy, flavorful, and has a gorgeous crispy crust!


1 18-20 pound, pre-brined turkey (I bought mine at Whole Foods, pre-brined because ain't nobody got time for that)

To go in the bird-

Kosher salt

Black pepper

1 lemon, quartered

1 onion, quartered

1 head of garlic, sliced in half lengthwise

1 stalk of celery, cut in half

1 carrot, cut in half

1 bunch of thyme

To rub on the outside of the bird-

1.5 sticks of unsalted butter, softened

Zest of 1 lemon

1 bunch of thyme

Kosher Salt

Black pepper

Serving Size- 18-20


  1. Preheat your oven to 425.
  2. Start by removing the giblets out of the turkey (save for gravy), and wash your bird thoroughly. Once washed, dry the bird entirely. The butter will be impossible to stick if it's still wet. Tuck the wings underneath the bird, and tie the legs together with twine. Liberally salt and pepper the cavity and outside of the turkey and then stuff with onion, lemon, garlic, celery, carrot and fresh thyme.
  3. Then, combine your softened butter with the zest of 1 lemon, thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Smear your butter mixture all over, and make sure to get the butter under the skin of the bird. That will ensure all of that flavor melts into the meat.
  4. Place your turkey on a large roasting pan and put in the oven for 30 minutes. Watch the exterior of the turkey at this point to make sure it doesn't get too dark. When it turns a beautiful golden color, turn the heat down to 325, and cook for an additional 3.5 hours. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer at 3 hours. Once it registers 165-170, take the bird out of the oven and cover with tin foil for at least 30 minutes. If any any point the legs or wings are getting too brown, cover with foil in the oven.
  5. Once it's rested for minimum of 30 minutes (or max an hour or two), carve it up and enjoy!

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